Diagnosis of a rare disease changes a woman's life - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/8/09

Diagnosis of a rare disease changes a woman's life

By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Pennsylvania woman says she spent eight years seeing 23 doctors before finally finding out what was wrong.

"I went from doctor to doctor and whatever my symptom was, I had migraines, they would give me Immetrex. I had anemia, they'd say take a multi-vitamin, I had diarrhea, they'd say take Kaopectate," says Alice Bast, President of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Turns out, Alice Bast has Celiac Disease.  Incredibly, her veterinarian suggested it and a blood test confirmed it.  Celiac disease is a genetic problem where you can't digest the protein component of wheat, rye and barley which is called gluten and that little glitch in the diet creates total chaos in the body.  If someone with Celiac Disease eats something with wheat, rye or barley, the glutens they can't digest damage the lining in the small intestines, making it impossible to absorb nutrients and that can lead to a long list of illnesses, including certain cancers.  Which is why you'll notice the words gluten free on some products now, that label is a lifesaver to people like Alice, who need immediate changes in their diet when they get this kind of diagnosis.    

"It was life altering. Within two weeks, I started to feel better," said Alice Bast.

Today, Alice leads the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to help others with the disease understand that this potentially life-threatening condition can be controlled.  If you would like more information on celiac disease, (Click Here).

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